Hell’s Kitchen staple, Don’t Tell Mama, heads to the west coast


“This place here has saved a lot of actors who didn’t know where to turn.” This quote by regular patron Jason Bogdan describes Don’t Tell Mama perfectly. The tiny New York City piano bar is a secret gem that’s treasured and loved by those lucky enough to stumble onto it.The staff at Don’t Tell Mama is humble at best when talking up this Hell’s Kitchen staple, so be prepared to get an earful. Sidney Myer, the booking agent for the club since forever, has called it “a family of actors, pianists, playwrights and singers who just want to be seen.”

I frequented the club in my formative years. Penny Arcade was onstage caterwauling and insulting the audience in her usual fashion. The drinks would flow and lips would flap about everything from the current state of cabaret to “how did we all get so lucky to perform here?” Mama’s has a habit of welcoming all performers, new or old, with open arms and passionate hearts. The experience I gained from the great performers who passed through those doors was unparalleled.

When I heard the news that Don’t Tell Mama was taking its act to the west coast and opening an extension to the New York venue, I said “it’s about time.” The L.A. location will host members of the hit television show “Smash” as well as some “American Idol” contestants. Full lineups and dates have yet to be announced. The first show at the L.A. Don’t Tell Mama was held on February 26 and highlighted members of Mama’s regular New York family of performers.

The L.A. extension of Don’t Tell Mama stays true to the New York location by serving classic American cuisine along with cocktails so famous they are still talked about to this day. The kitchen is open from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. I suggest you get over to Don’t Tell Mama and bask in its glory. Cheers!

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